- Obama consulting on further sanctions for Russia
- Ex-Soviet republics reportedly call for troop withdrawal
- Amazon.com, Visa, Ford disappoint
Dow Jones: -0.70%
S&P 500: -0.56%
Ongoing developments in Ukraine hit stocks hard on Friday in New York as investors scaled back risk appetite ahead of the weekend.
Mixed economic data and a raft of poorly-received corporate earnings were also dampening sentiment, leading to triple-digit losses on the Dow Jones Industrial Average by midday. Wall Street heavyweights Amazon.com, Visa and Ford were all registering steep losses in morning trade after missing estimates with their quarterly results.
Goldman Sachs was also weighing on stocks after cutting its forecast for US economic growth in the first quarter from 1.5% to 1%. The bank said this was due to higher inventories at the end of last year and negative effects from bad weather.
The Dow was down 0.7% or 116 points, while the S&P 500
fell 0.6% and the Nasdaq dropped 1.3%.
President Barack Obama said today that he would consult with European leaders about the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine and threatened Russia with more sanctions after Moscow ordered new military exercises along its border.
Meanwhile, several ex-Soviet republics, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, have called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the border areas near Ukraine, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Standard & Poor's also downgraded its foreign and local currency rating for Russia on the back of capital outflows that put the country's economic growth at risk and warned that additional sanctions could result in a further downgrade.
Consumer sentiment rises, PMIs fall
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer confidence index jumped to 84.1 in April, revised higher from the preliminary reading of 82.6 and March's final figure of 80. Analysts had expected a smaller rise to 83.
However, Markit's US services purchasing managers' index (PMI) declined from 55.3 to 54.2 in April, surprising analysts who had expected a small rise to 55.5.
This pushed the composite PMI, which measures both the services and manufacturing sectors, down to 54.9 from 55.7 the month before.
Amazon.com, Visa, Ford
Online retail merchant Amazon.com dropped sharply today, registering losses of around 8%, after failing to impress with a better-than-expected 23% rise in first-quarter revenues. Earnings were in line with expectations but the company warned that spending on investments will probably result in a second-quarter operating loss.
Credit card group Visa dropped after missing second-quarter revenues and profits both missed consensus forecasts. The company said that a strong US dollar
and tough comparatives from last year due to non-recurring items weighed on growth.
Ford also disappointed as the auto maker reported a drop in profits worse than expected, as it blamed safety recalls and weather-related costs.
West Texas Intermediate futures were down 1.2% at $100.74 a barrel on the NYMEX.
The yield on a 10-year Treasury was down three basis points at 2.65%.